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K12 LibreTexts

1.1: Letters and Sounds

  • Page ID
    3536
  • Letters and sounds are two different things: Letters are things you see. Sounds are things you hear.

    For example, say the word else. You should hear three sounds in it:

    • The first sound is spelled by the letter <e> at the front of the word.
    • The second sound is spelled by the letter <l>.
    • The third sound is spelled by the letter <s>.

    Note that the letter <e> at the end of else does not spell a sound.

    So you can see four letters, but you can hear only three sounds.

    Examples

    Here are some examples with the letters and sounds counted out for each word. Note that sometimes two letters work together to spell a single sound and sometimes a letter may not spell any sound, like the final 'e' in else.

    How many letters? How many sounds?
    above 5 4 (since the <e> is silent)
    below 5 4 (since the <ow> makes a single sound)

    Review

    Fill in the blanks. First count the letters in each of the words below. Then count the sounds you hear in each one. Be aware of letters that work together or don't spell any sound.

    How many letters? How many sounds?
    1. always
    2. know
    3. seventy
    4. queen
    5. because
    6. before
    7. bridge
    8. knee
    9. would
    10. through
    Show Answer
    How many letters? How many sounds?
    1. always 6 5
    2. know 4 2
    3. seventy 7 7
    4. queen 5 4
    5. because 7 5
    6. before 6 5
    7. bridge 6 4
    8. knee 4 2
    9. would 5 3
    10. through 7 3